It’s election time, and we finally get to choose those who will serve us for another period of 4 years.
We need to be careful of our actions so we do not get caught up with the negativities of election fallout while exercising our civic right. There is this nervous excitement over our political choice as it is natural we want our political will to have the ultimate impact on the generality of the results.
In cognizance of the stated using our franchise, emotions are high, politicians seeking our mandate employ both Orthodox and Unorthodox strategies to outwit their opponents. Democracy in this part of the world is still growing and we thus should prepare our minds to possible strange occurrences on election day.
Rallies are over, we have listened to tense debates from the candidates and the ability to use our franchise for the leader of our choice legitimately represent our beliefs in the bedrock of democracy.
But casting our votes ain’t easy as it should be baring in mind the challenges we have as a developing nation and the present level of sophistication of the voting process amongst the populace.
INEC, the body in charge of conducting and supervising elections in Nigeria has repeatedly assured of hitch-free elections. While believing their confident assertion, we should not be complacent by overlooking possible election day issues as they come.
It’s this time propaganda are high up the air, with fake news littering the social media public space. Real, conjured and imagined panic sets in.
With all the conflicting information that is available in the media, it behooves on us to list for you and your loved ones a few practical guidelines to help us on election security.
- 1 Make sure you are a registered voter with your PVC
- 2 Get to the polling place early
- 3 Do not wear branded political vests and clothes to the polling center
- 4 Be wary of what you say and joining in conversations at the Polling Centre
- 5 Do not disclose your preferred candidate to anyone at the polling units
- 6 Return home immediately after exercising your franchise
- 7 Don’t move around with a lot of cash
- 8 When polling unit results are announced
- 9 Have a standby emergency number you can dial in case of strife
- 10 Do not partake or join people who flout electoral rules and laws
Make sure you are a registered voter with your PVC
We have been availed of information from the electoral body what is required of us to vote on election day and one of them is being registered earlier on and getting our Permanent Voters Card (PVC). If you are not with your PVC, it is not safe to go to the polling booth on election day.
Get to the polling place early
To avoid rush-issues, you need to be punctual to the polling unit to get accredited early and vote to have a smooth voting exercise. There is a tendency for crowd issues in the polling booth with Nigeria’s present manual voting method. If we arrive early to get accredited and do the actual voting, it saves us from stress to a tangible level
Do not wear branded political vests and clothes to the polling center
We should be guided that we have different categories of voters at the polling unit, the atmosphere at that moment usually get tensed and little fights may occur. It is unsafe to adorn clothes or things that indicate a political party or candidate in the election as this may irritate supporters of the opposing camp.
Also when a fight happens, you may be an easy target as they would see you as part of those they need to attack.
Be wary of what you say and joining in conversations at the Polling Centre
Don’t be tempted to join argument or criticize a particular political party or politician. Doing so might step on the toes of harmful people who support such a politician or political party. Minimize or reduce talks at the voting center so as not to be caught up in issues.
Do not disclose your preferred candidate to anyone at the polling units
At the polling center, we have so many desperate people who may be harmful. Do not make the mistake of letting anyone know who you are voting for. Keep your candidate to your chest and vote peacefully without creating a scene.
Return home immediately after exercising your franchise
Even if you must wait for the collation and announcement of the results at the polling booth, do so and go home immediately. It is understandable the security agencies have restricted movement on election day, to be safe do not go roaming about after leaving the voting center. Political strife can happen anytime on the street, it may escalate and affect anyone who wanders around.
Don’t move around with a lot of cash
In this era of vote-buying clampdown, anyone found with cash around is a suspect. You may be arrested or even attacked for innocently having huge cash at your disposal moving around. Also, street urchins and miscreants take advantage of this period to rob people of their valuables. Be careful.
When polling unit results are announced
Be civil and exercise restraint in your celebration. Over the board celebration has the tendency of inciting supporters of the candidates of the losing side and this may lead to violence. Be careful about how you celebrate. be moderate or better still get home first before celebrating.
Have a standby emergency number you can dial in case of strife
Election outcome and issues can’t be accurately predicted and thus surprises may spring. The results may not favor those who thought they are coasting home to victory, things may flame up in an instant and you may get stranded on the road or even right there in the polling center. Having a number to call in case of an emergency may help save you from such a situation.
Do not partake or join people who flout electoral rules and laws
There is in some cases temptation to join in vote manipulation as a result of financial inducement. For the sake of your immediate safety and your long-term safety, do not join them in ballot box snatching or other electoral offenses. Remember the Commander-In-Chief of the Armed forces ordered a shoot at sight of ballot snatchers. This is no empty threat or order.
When you notice someone is trying to snatch a ballot box, please do not try to stop them so as not to be caught up in their mess and mistaken for someone else. Allow security men to do their jobs.
Do you have other Safety hacks on Election Day? Please share with us in the comment section.
About Our Contributor - Ayoola Fasheyi Arakunrin Ayoola Faseyi also known as Ayoola Gem Fash in other circles is an activist, writer, and an agronomist. Ayoola is the founder of "The Gem Foundation" the parent platform that birthed "The Singles For Wedlock Matchmaking Service (SFW). As a matchmaker, Ayoola is committed to his vision of helping ready and capable singles meet their other halves and help build marriages. The Singles For Wedlock Matchmaking Service (SFW) which he leads has produced a minimum of 5 weddings with more wedlock testimonies in the offing. Ayoola Gem Fash is a lover of books with writing known as his most obvious hobby, He is also a content curator with an established presence in online blogs and lifestyle website.